By Angel MedFlight Contributor
An increasing number of Americans rely on prescription drugs to manage chronic illnesses. But taking those medications incorrectly can lead to serious health problems. This is why it is extremely important to know exactly what medicines you are taking and to manage your prescriptions safely and effectively. Each year, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) sets aside October as “Talk About Prescriptions Month.” Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance sees the great importance of this initiative.
According to the NCPIE, almost four billion prescriptions were filled in the U.S. in 2010. Statistics from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey show that over two-thirds of all doctors’ visits end with a prescription being written. It has become increasingly important to manage the prescription medications we put into our bodies since many Americans are also taking over the counter (OTC) medications and vitamins/herbal supplements along with their prescription medicines.
The NCPIE was founded in 1982 and is a non-profit coalition of around 100 organizations. The council says on its website that its mission “is to stimulate and improve communication of information on the appropriate use of medicines to consumers and health care professionals.” One of NCPIE’s values is to “empower consumers to be more informed about and active in decisions affecting their use of medicines by stimulating communication between consumers and health care professionals on the safe and appropriate use of medicines.”
Did you know that one out of every three people experience at least one medicine-related problem? These problems might include over use, under use, not following instructions and drug interactions. In order to avoid these problems, the NCPIE recommends talking with your doctor or healthcare provider and pharmacist and learning about your health conditions and medicines.
Another useful tip to avoid problems with medications is to make a medication list that includes:
— Names of all medications you use, including OTCs, dietary supplements and herbal remedies
— Who prescribed each medication
— What each medication is used for
— How often and at what dose (amount) you take each
— Whether refills are needed
Always be sure to update your list when you start taking something new or if a medicine’s dosage is changed by your health care provider.
The NCPIE recommends you make a copy of your medicine list for your records and make extra copies to share with your loved ones and health care providers.
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helpful tips on the safe use of prescription drugs. Much more information on managing your prescriptions can be found on the NCPIE website and at www.bemedwise.org.
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Ambulance encourages you to take the time to ensure that you and your family are managing your prescriptions safely and effectively. Talk about prescriptions.